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Causes of the Russian revolution

1)      The geography of Russia

O  Transport was slow

O  There was little industry

O  Trans-Siberian railway was finished in 1905, this encouraged the growth of towns/factories

2)      The class system

O  Classes weren’t happy with it , this caused tension

3)      Condition of the peasants

O  They were very poor and unhappy

4)      Condition of the workers in town

O  Wages were very low

O  Living conditions were very bad

O  Workers had to live in communal houses

5)      Russia as a police state

O  Tsars feared for revolt against them, so they had harsh laws & secret police to crush possible rebels

6)      The policy of Russification

O  Russia contained many lands

O  Tsars decided to stamp out as much regional identity as they could

7)      Rasputin

O  He was key advisor to the Tsar Nicholar & his family

O  Eldest son of the tsar had bleedings only Rasputin could stop

O  Everyone (except royal family) disliked him

O  Aristocrats could not forgive him being born as peasant

O  In 1916, he was murdered by a group of aristocrats

8)      First World War

O  Badly organized army – Suffered from losses

O  Food shortages and unrest  in the cities

O  Tsar took personal command of the army in August 1915  -- didn’t help

9)      1904/1905 war with Japan

O  Russia suffers humiliating defeat

10)   1906 people’s peaceful protest gets shot apart

O  Causes a lot of unrest

11)  Chez agrees to parliament (the Duma) which remains powerless

O  1914 – Russia enters WW1 and suffers heavy losses

O  1915 -- ,,Desertions’’ grow to 25%

 

 

 

 

 

March revolution 1917

 

The workers in the Russian Capital were unhappy and hungry. On the 8th of March there were food riots in Petrograd. On the 12th of March, the revolutionaries were in control of the city.

 

The Tsar was forced to abdicate on the 14th of March.

 

Lenin was in exile, he only made a speech.

 

What happened after the March revolution

Power in Russia passed to a provisional government. The first head was Prince George Lvov. He was soon replaced by Alexander Kerensky.  One of the first decisions made was  to continue the war. When a  Russian attack in June 1917 failed, people blamed the government.

 

Provisional government needed to share power with soviets. (councils elected by groups of workers or local people.) In most soviets there was opposition to the provisional government from people who thought the revolution had gone far enough.

 

Many of those opponents believed in the idea of Karl Marx. There were different groups of people who believed in his ideas, the best organized was the Bolsheviks – Led by Lenin. Their policy was simple : Peace, Land & Bread.

The November revolution

By the middle of October 1917, Bolsheviks had a majority in Petrograd Soviets. Lenin decided in was the right time to move against the provisional government. On the night of the 6th of November, the Red Guards arrested the leaders of the provisional government. They also captured the key buildings in Petrograd. Lenin was in power now.

 

The ideas of Karl Marx

 

 

Check Diagram in the book. Page 34

 

 

 

 

War communism

To win the civil war with the Whites (groups in Russia that did not accept the new Bolshevik government), Lenin made a series of policies : War communism.

D He nationalized all factories

D He stopped trading by individuals

D He seized food from the peasants to feed the soldiers and town workers

Due to War Communism, mutiny broke out in the Red Navy. But the mutiny was crushed and the Whites were defeated by 1921.

 

New Economic Policy

  • Peasants were allowed to keep and trade some of their crops
  • Allowed private ownership of factories
  • Allowed state run factories to pay bonuses for higher production

After Lenin died

He died in 1924. Stalin, who was the Secretary-General of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks), won support from people who disliked Trotsky. He used his position to give key jobs to his supporters. The Politburo (a committee of communist leaders) took control, but Stalin controlled both the Politburo and the Soviet Union by 1929.

Aims of Stalin

  • Greatly expand Russian industry
  • Find funds to set up those new industries
  • Increase agricultural productions

Aims of Stalin

  • Greatly expand Russian industry
  • Find funds to set up those new industries
  • Increase agricultural productions

-          to feed a rising number of town workers

-          to sell abroad for money he needed to invest in industry

Five Year Plans

Stalin used Five Year Plans to modernize industry. They set targets for key goods, those were unrealistic high and often not reached. Although, Russian industry did grow in the most remarkable way. Workers were encouraged by : bonus payments, propaganda campaigns & they were punished if things went wrong.

Agriculture

Stalin wanted to abolish the small farms owned by the Kulaks. Those farms were too small to use machines. Also, Stalin saw Kulaks as enemies of communism.

He set up large collective farms. Kulaks were not happy with it. They rather burned their crops and killed their animals than hand them over to collective farms. Protestors were shot or sent to labour camps.

The damage was serious. A famine n 1932/1933 killed about 5 million peasants. By 1937, 90% of the farmland was collectivized. The grain harvest was 80% higher than in 1913. Production had risen, but the price was misery, suffering and death.

 

1930’s

Stalin came to fear opposition inside the Soviet Union. In 1934 he began a series of purges against possible opponents. The most famous of the accused had ‘Show Trials’ in Moscow, where (after confessing to treason against the State) they were executed or sent to gulags. The commander of the Red Army, thirteen other generals and about  of all officers in the army were executed. About 20 million people were sent to gulags, almost 50% of them died.

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